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Gestational, periparturient and preweaning growth traits of Holstein versus Gir x Holstein F1 crossbred dairy calves born to Holstein dams.

Authors
  • Schmidt, S J
  • Bowers, S D
  • Dickerson, T
  • Gandy, B S
  • Holholm, F
  • Graves, K B
  • White, J
  • Vann, R C
  • Willard, S T
Type
Published Article
Journal
Tropical animal health and production
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2006
Volume
38
Issue
3
Pages
249–260
Identifiers
PMID: 16986772
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The objectives of this study were to assess the gestational, periparturient and preweaning growth traits of Holstein vs Gir x Holstein (G x H F1) cross-bred dairy calves. Holstein cows (n=64) pregnant with Holstein (H x H) calves (bulls, n=16; heifers, n=18) or G x H (bulls, n=8; heifers, n=22) calves were sampled from 60 days of gestation through calving for serum progesterone (P4) and in utero placentome sizes, and at parturition for calving ease scores (CES), calf vigour scores (CVS), and placental characteristics. Post-calving calf measures included birth weight (day 0) and body weight (kg), hip width (HW), body length (BL), wither height (WH), hip height (HH) and heart girth (HG) through 42 days of age. Serum IgG and calf vital function tests (respiration rate (RR), heart rate (HR), rectal temperature (RT) and fecal scores) were recorded on days 1, 3, 7 and 14 of age (a.m. and p.m.). Serum gestational P4 was higher (p < 0.05) for cows with H x H than G x H calves. Placentome measurements in utero were greater (p < 0.01) for H x H calves than for G x H calves, while at parturition placental characteristics did not differ (p > 0.10). Gestation length, CES and CVS also did not differ (p > 0.10) between H x H and G x H calves. Calf RR and HR were higher (p < 0.05) for H x H than G x H calves at both a.m. and p.m., while RT, fecal scores and serum IgG did not differ (p > 0.10) between H x H and G x H calves. Birth weight did not differ (p > 0.10) between H x H and G x H calves within sex. Moreover, bulls did not differ (p > 0.10) in any of the growth measures between H x H and G x H calves, whereas H x H heifers at days 28 and 42 of age were greater (p < 0.05) in all growth traits than G x H heifers. Nevertheless, the relative change in growth measures over time (days 0 to 42) did not differ (p > 0.10) between H x H and G x H calves. While subtle differences in gestational, early growth and vital function characteristics were observed, these data suggest very similar developmental profiles between H x H and G x H calves.

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